Butler Begins Horizon League Play On The Road

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

LEAGUE START: Butler will try to match its early non-conference success with a fast league start when it begins Horizon League play with a pair of rugged road contests this week. The Bulldogs will visit Detroit (4-3) for a 7 p.m. (ET) contest on Thursday, Dec. 6, before visiting defending Horizon League champ Wright State (2-1) at 7 p.m., on Saturday, Dec. 8. Both games represent a sizeable challenge for the nationally-ranked Bulldogs. Butler has just two wins in its last five visits to Detroit's Calihan Hall, and the Bulldogs are winless in their last five contests against Wright State in the Ervin J. Nutter Center. Two of Butler's seven losses a year ago came at the Nutter Center. The Bulldogs improved to 7-0 on the young season with a 65-46 victory at home over Ohio State on Saturday (Dec. 1).

Butler's game at Detroit will be telecast in Indianapolis on Comcast Local.

POLL WATCH: The Bulldogs climbed to No. 13 in both major college basketball polls (A.P. & ESPN/USA Today), following last weekend's victory over Ohio State. Butler moved up three spots from No. 16 in both polls. It's the fourth straight week that the Bulldogs have been ranked in the "Top 25" in at least one of the two polls and the third straight week that Butler has been ranked in both polls. Butler was ranked for a school- and league-record 16 consecutive weeks a year ago.

The Bulldogs boast their highest national ranking since Feb. 12, 2007 (No. 13).

ADDITIONAL POLLING: The Bulldogs sit atop The CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 for the second consecutive week. Butler also was No. 1 on the ESPN.com Mid-Major Top 10 last week.

SECOND HALF SURGE: Butler shook off a slow shooting start and used a big second half performance to notch a 65-46 victory over visiting Ohio State. The Bulldogs missed their first 15 three-point field goal attempts and finished one of 16 from beyond the three-point arc in the first half. That long-range effort contributed to an overall 26% shooting performance and a 30-20 halftime deficit. Things changed dramatically in the final 20 minutes. The Bulldogs hit eight of 14 attempts from the three-point line and shot 60% overall from the field in the second half, while out-scoring Ohio State, 45-16! Butler out-pointed the Buckeyes, 34-8, over the final 12:43 of the game, while pulling away for the 19-point victory.

Butler's last four wins have been against teams from the Big Ten, ACC and Big 12.

LEAGUE RECOGNITION: Freshman Matt Howard came off the bench and sparked the Bulldogs against Ohio State, and his performance earned him Horizon League Player of the Week honors. Howard scored 11 of Butler's first 13 points in the game and had 13 of Butler's 20 points in the first half. He finished with a career-high 23 points on nine of 13 shooting from the field and five of five shooting from the free throw line. The 6-8 forward led the Bulldogs and tied for game-high honors with seven rebounds, and he added two assists and a steal.

DOUBLE DOSE: Butler guards A. J. Graves and Mike Green didn't score a point in the first 19:59 of the Bulldogs' win over Ohio State. But the Butler backcourt duo made up for lost time in the second half, combining to out-score the visiting Buckeyes, 26-16, in the final 20 minutes! Graves, who hit a three-point field goal at the buzzer ending the first half for his initial points in the game, scored 11 more points in the second half, while Green tallied all 15 of his points in the final 20 minutes. Graves hit four of eight shots from the field in the final period, while Green nailed four of five attempts.

DIALING LONG DISTANCE: Butler didn't hit a three-point field goal for the first 19:59 of the game against Ohio State. The Bulldogs then cashed nine long-range shots in the final 20:01. After missing 15 consecutive three-point attempts to start the game, Butler closed with nine of 15 (.600) shooting from beyond the three-point arc. It was Butler's seventh game with eight or more three-pointers.

Butler is ranked second in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals made (12.3).

FIRST DEFENSE: Butler limited Ohio State to a season-low 46 points. It was the fourth time in seven outings that the Bulldogs held their opponent below 50 points. Butler gave up just 16 points in the final 20 minutes, also a season-low for the Buckeyes and the second-lowest, one-half total allowed by the Bulldogs. Ohio State shot just 29% (7-24) in the second period.

Butler ranks 23rd in the NCAA Division I in team scoring defense (57.1).

NATIONAL LEADER: The Bulldogs again are leading the NCAA Division I in fewest turnovers per game (9.4). A year ago, Butler ended the season as the Division I national leader in fewest turnovers per game (9.5). The Bulldogs had 11 turnovers against Ohio State.

PERFECT START: Brad Stevens became the second consecutive Butler coach to begin his coaching career with seven straight victories. Current Iowa head coach Todd Lickliter won his first seven games at Butler, including three in Alaska at the Top of the World Classic, in 2001-02. Lickliter went on to win his first 13 games as a head coach.

BULLDOG BITS:

•Butler is leading the Horizon League in team scoring defense (57.1), scoring margin (+15.1), turnover margin (+4.71), assist/turnover ratio (1.58) and three-point field goals (12.29).

•The Bulldogs rank sixth in the NCAA Division I in assist/turnover ratio (1.58), 11th in three-point field goal pct. (.443) and 13th in free throw pct. (.776).

•A. J. Graves, who hit four three-point field goals against Ohio State, ranks fourth in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals per game (4.7). He stands second on Butler's all-time list for three-point field goals with 241, 73 behind all-time leader and former teammate Bruce Horan (2002-06).

•A. J. Graves stands 10th on Butler's all-time scoring list with 1,469 career points. He's 16 points shy of Jon Neuhouser, 1994-98, in ninth place.

•A. J. Graves has scored in double-figures in 15 straight games, dating back to last season. He has scored in double-figures in 82 of 103 career games.

•Guard Mike Green matched his season-high with eight assists against Ohio State. Green leads the Horizon League in assists (5.43).

•Mike Green has scored 1,248 points during his collegiate career (641 at Towson and 608 at Butler).

•Mike Green has hit nine of his last 11 three-point field goal attempts. He ranks second in the Horizon League in three-point field goal percentage (.588).

•Forward Pete Campbell sat out the final 13 minutes of the Ohio State game after suffering a knee sprain. No time line has been set on his return.

•Pete Campbell is tied for eighth in the NCAA Division I in three-point field goals per game (4.0), and he ranks 16th in Division I in three-point field goal percentage (.500).

•Freshman Matt Howard ranks fourth in the Horizon League in field goal percentage (.614). He's connected on 13 of his last 18 field goal attempts. Howard also ranks 13th in the league in free throw shooting (.759).

•Senior Drew Streicher is ranked eighth in the NCAA Division I in assist/turnover ratio (6.00). Streicher has 12 assists and just two turnovers through seven games.

•Sophomore Willie Veasley, who sat out Butler's first four games because of a knee injury, has played in Butler's last three contests. He had three rebounds in nine minutes against Ohio State.

•Julian Betko and Mike Green were in Butler's starting lineup for the 43rd consecutive game against Texas Tech. A. J. Graves made his 97th career start for the Bulldogs.

•Butler head coach Brad Stevens added walk-on Alex Anglin to this year's roster. A 6-4 sophomore, Anglin was an all-area performer at Kokomo High School. He's one of three walk-ons on Butler's roster, joining junior Ben Slaton, who earned a spot in 2005-06, and sophomore Nick Rodgers, who earned a spot last year.